Today, July 3rd, is the 45th and 43rd anniversary of the deaths of Brian Jones and Jim Morrison, respectively.
Both Jones, guitarist/multi-instrumentalist with the Rolling Stones, and Morrison, singer/poet/sage of the Doors were early members of the “27 Club,” an eerily large group of musicians who died at the ripe old rock-star age of 27.
The club was “founded” (arguably) by blues legend Robert Johnson, who was poisoned (again, arguably; see legends) in 1938. Other members include Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin.
Jones died one month after leaving the Stones due to drug and legal problems, despite the band releasing the landmark album, Beggar’s Banquet, only the previous December. He was several kinds of inebriated and drowned in his swimming pool. Morrison was found dead in his bathtub under muggy circumstances, officially termed “natural causes,” but rumors abound concerning the incident.
Morrison in particular has, post-mortem, become a solid gold cultural icon of the 60s. His image is a powerful logo of poetic, boozy psychedelia and his grave in Paris is practically a pilgrimage site.
It’s tragic that the same forces that made these men produce terrific, original music led to their early, self-destructive deaths. While Jones and Morrison are gone, they will live forever through their music.